Explanations of media influences on antisocial behaviour: social learning theory

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Psychology unit 4 media revision
Explanations of media influences on antisocial behaviour
Social learning theory
This theory states that a child will be influenced by the media when they observe
a role model being violent and develop a mental representation that the violence is
good as they see the role model get vicarious reinforcement such as laughter. This
encourages the child to copy the behaviour which gives them direct experience.
The child experiences positive reinforcement which leads to self efficacy
overtime, meaning the child becomes better at the behaviour leading to increased
levels of violence.
Bandura- showed children videos of an adult being aggressive towards a bobo
doll. After the children were frustrated by having their toys taken away, they
were introduced to the bobo doll and the children who saw the adult on TV were
more aggressive towards the doll. This supports the idea that children copy role
models behaviour.
Useful applications- can be applied to real life as it is similar to children
watching TV shows, so could be used to reduce antisocial TV programs.
Low internal validity- Don't know if the violent behaviour is due to the
children being angry by having their toys taken away or if it was due to seeing an
aggressive role model.
Explains individual and cultural differences as more aggressive children were
exposed to more aggressive role models. There is very little violence in the Kung
San tribe as there are no aggressive role models for the children to copy.
/ Deterministic as it suggests that we don't choose what to copy as we copy
everything we see and this isn't true in reality so the theory ignores free will.
However it means there is a clear cause of aggression so it is easy to solve the
behaviour as you just remove the cause of the aggressive behaviour.
Reductionist- ignores other factors such as free will, hormones and genetic
influences and therefore on its own we only get a limited understanding on how
media can influence aggressive behaviour.


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